USA: The upcoming Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, meeting will be crucial in helping to end the ongoing human rights violations caused by the war and conflict in Ukraine.
That's the opinion of Michael Carpenter, the United States' Permanent Representative to the OSCE, who recently spoke to Arab News about the organization's annual Ministerial Council meeting in Lodz, Poland, on December 1-2.
According to Carpenter, OSCE officials are expected to discuss expanding the organization's work to address issues such as human trafficking and election monitoring.
Strongly criticizing Russia for its role in the conflict, Carpenter said European nations have recently engaged in "de-escalation" talks with Moscow and Kyiv.
Carpenter's comments come after US news outlets reported over the past two weeks on a secret meeting in Ankara, Turkey, between CIA Director Bill Burns and his Russian intelligence counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin. The meeting was part of ongoing efforts by the United States to communicate with Russia on "managing (the) risk" of nuclear escalation.
A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the meeting to Arab News, citing a lack of authorization to discuss the CIA director's schedule.
The OSCE, which has 57 member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America, works to promote human rights and democratic governance by monitoring elections and combating human trafficking.
It serves as a forum for member-state dialogue on global issues, and has 13 field missions in the Western Balkans, Central Asia and Moldova. A new office will soon be opened in Ukraine.
Carpenter said that on November 1, a new field mission called the Assistance Program for Ukraine was launched, funded by "generous contributions" from the United States and other voluntary support.
"Through the presence of this new zone, we intend to support projects that will contribute to the resilience of Ukraine's critical infrastructure, humanitarian devastation (and) mitigation of the environmental impacts of war," he said.
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland will lead the US delegation, which will include representatives from the 57 OSCE participating states and 11 partner countries.
Carpenter said the war in Ukraine would be the most important topic of the upcoming meeting. "What is done, not what is said, is the real story of the OSCE."
He noted that OSCE states make decisions by consensus. It has three independent bodies: the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Representative for Media Freedom and the High Commissioner for National Minorities.
“The OSCE has a number of Special Representatives who work on extremely important issues such as anti-corruption, combating human trafficking, promoting gender equality and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination,” he explained.
In Tajikistan, for example, she said the OSCE supports women's resource centres, which are government-sanctioned outlets for victims of domestic violence. They have access to legal aid, psychological counseling and assistance with finding work.
"Our field missions in the Western Balkans and Central Asia support efforts to document and secure small arms and light weapons stockpiles to improve stability and security in many of these societies after conflict."
Carpenter said that as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the OSCE disseminated information about the risks of human trafficking through an innovative public-private partnership that puts information on the smartphones of those most vulnerable.